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xBRIANx's avatar

What are good trees or shrubs that soak up water?

Asked by xBRIANx (242points) March 13th, 2010

Our house is build on a slope and the water runoff beside our house (mainly underground saturated soil) is pooling on the ground and over our driveway. Right now we only have grass but want to plant several trees or shrubs that will soak up some of this water. Thought?

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16 Answers

majorrich's avatar

Willows are good for planting near ponds and wetlands

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@majorrich is a faster typer than me.

Yes, willows should soak up some of the excess water you have, and they are commonly available at tree farms/garden stores. Some trees species that consume a lot of water are: elms, oaks, and some maples (silver, or manitoba maples).

xBRIANx's avatar

Any specific type of willow? Any shrubs?

Trillian's avatar

How ‘bout a bounty bush?~

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@xBRIANx Willows are shrubs, and any species should work; they all have a high water requirements.

xBRIANx's avatar

Oh, I thought Willows were trees.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@xBRIANx Some willow species are trees (like weeping willows), but willows as a whole are primarily shrubs.

susanc's avatar

Some shrubby willows are especially nice in that they have beautiful red or bright-yellow bark – even in winter, they look fabulous.

majorrich's avatar

Salix Sepulcrais (or something like that) is the tree, but there are dwarf species and shrubs. your gardener will know. watch the roots and proximity to drainage tile and septic tanks though.


Willows, and any plants in the willow family, like poplar trees. But be careful of willows and poplars——as water hungry as they are, they have invasive root systems——their roots spread wide and far. Don’t plant them too close to foundations. Ash trees are also good for soaking up water——the American White Ash is a grand tree when it’s mature, and the leaves turn a pretty unique mauve color in the fall. The Tamarack Larch (Larix laricina) is a conifer tree of the northern wetlands. It is one of my favorite trees, with fresh green needles in the spring, followed by golden yellow needles in the fall. It doesn’t do well in hot climates, but it loves damp ground and will soak up excess water too. They are narrow, so you can plant them in a row pretty close to each other for a uniform effect. Here’s a picture of the Tamarack in the fall—-

LuckyGuy's avatar

Is there a low spot that you can drain to? If yes then I’d try to fix the problem permanently. Rent a Ditch Witch good to 4 foot depth and 4–5 inches wide and put in 4” plastic drain tile. Fill the ditch with pea gravel and you are good to go for 50 years.
the DW costs about $200 per day and will do 1000 feet in a day. You just walk behind it and let it dig up the trench for you.

njnyjobs's avatar

Does the trees and/or shrubs have a place in your yard? If not, you’re probably better off putting down some underground drainage. You can pick-up from Home Depot or Lowes some plastic drain pipes connected to small catch basins placed in low areas away from the house or directed towards established drainage. You can rent a small trencher for one weekend morning and finish the job in one day. . . It should keep the water flowing and not worry about any structure damage that roots may cause.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Willows and sycamores :)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Check out wetlands plantings or rain gardens. You may have to make some modifications to your drainage, but in the long run, planning a rain garden in this space will be both beneficial and attractive.

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